Joining me today are Christin Chan and Kathryn Camacho, the founders of a new fashion start-up, ShopitUPchic.
Tell readers a bit about ShopitUPchic.
The vision of ShopitUPchic.com is to bring unique brands from both domestic and international fashion designers, both established and emerging, to every kind of woman and at the most reasonable prices. The ShopitUPchic kind of gal knows how to shop and is always in search of unique pieces to add to her closet. The company is committed to providing the highest quality merchandise along with exceptional customer service.
We also offer a chance for every woman to have her own revolving closet through our sister site, IWantYourOutfit.com, the web’s most affordable way to rent clothing. Our vision is for women to be able to have something new to wear without having to worry about breaking their banks in the process. The website’s rental program allows customers to borrow items for as long as they want. It’s very simple to use, giving all women the ultimate sense of freedom when it comes to fashion through the creation of a worry–free environment for trying new brands.
Your story appeals to me because both of you lost your jobs during the recession and decided to create your own jobs. Was entrepreneurship something you were both interested in or did losing your jobs push you into it?
Becoming entrepreneurs was something that we have both always wanted to try. We have had a lot of passion for the fashion industry, as evidenced by our ten years of involvement in it. In spite of this, we didn’t have the courage when we were at our previous jobs to just leave and start a whole new venture.
Once we lost our jobs, however, we realized that was the perfect opportunity to finally, as the cliché goes, start pursuing our dreams. Since we are both still young, we figured that this was a great chance to take a leap of faith to do something for ourselves. Now, we sincerely believe that when you have your own business, the sky is the limit. Our destiny is in our own hands, and we can decide what we can do to succeed.
What are the three most important lessons your have learned in the process of starting ShopitUPchic?
The three lessons that we have learned are:
- Starting a business is tough. As a woman, you need to be even tougher to deal with all possible contingencies. Things may never run as smoothly as you want them to, but you should never get discouraged or even have thoughts about quitting. Make sure you prepare yourself mentally to the point that no one will care about your business as much as you do.
- Plan ahead for all possibilities. Make sure you always have a backup plan for what you are going to do if things don’t work out the way you had planned.
- Don’t rely on anyone. This one is an eye-opener. You will see who your real friends are when you are at the toughest points. If he or she has not given you enough reason to, never fully trust a person.
Partnering with family or friends in business is a debated subject. Has working together affected your friendship at all?
We have always been very close, and we are still the best of friends. It is true that, before we started the business, we were wondering if it was a good idea because we were worried that we might not work well together in business. However, we are so different from each other that we each possess qualities that the other does not have. We work very well together, and we are able to divide up the work coherently.
Of course, there are times where we get frustrated, but nothing is personal. At the end of the day, we both know that it is only business. A very important thing to remember is to always make sure you are not mixing business with personal issues because it can ruin a friendship. As long as you know where to draw the line, it will work out.
What is a day like for the two of you?
Everyday is different for the two of us! We have learned something new everyday since we started our business. We are total opposites, but we also fit together very well—like a dynamic duo. Kathryn is in charge of all the creative aspects of the business such as the photography, image editing, layout and content of the website. Christin, on the other hand, is in charge of all the technical aspects of the website such as finance, accounting, marketing, writing orders, etc. Although we divide up the work, there seems to never be enough time to get everything done. We also try to fit in a few networking events after work hours in order to connect with local professionals. In addition, we take time to explore various event opportunities for promoting our business and for getting the word out.